Shocked British neighbours of a family who were brutally murdered in the French Alps have described a "lovely" Iraqi couple who were often seen taking their children to school.
More than a dozen police stood on Thursday outside the large detached house in Claygate, a leafy residential district of Surrey to the southwest of London, owned by the al-Hilli family, the presumed victims of Wednesday's attack.
French police sources have confirmed that 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli, an Iraqi-born businessman who lived in Surrey with his family, was one of the four people found dead in a forest car park near the village of Chevaline.
A four-year-old girl, believed to be Hilli's daughter, survived the attack by curling up under the bullet-riddled corpses of her mother and grandmother.
The girl's sister is undergoing surgery in a French hospital after she was shot in the shoulder and suffered multiple, "extremely violent" blows to the head, a French prosecutor said.
French police have not officially confirmed the identities of the three people found dead in the British-registered BMW estate car. The fourth victim, a cyclist who arrived at the scene by chance, was named as Sylvain Mollier.
Friends and neighbours of the Hilli family in Claygate, an area popular with well-off finance sector workers commuting to London, said Saad was an engineer and his wife Iqbal was a dentist.
A profile on the LinkedIn business networking website describes Saad al-Hilli, who was found dead in the driver's seat, as a consultant in the aviation and aerospace industry.
His accountant Julian Stedman told AFP that Hilli was a director of Shtech Limited, an aerospace firm he set up in 2001, while another friend described him as a computer design expert.
"I never dreamed it would be him. It's a total and utter shock to me," Stedman told AFP outside the house.
He described Hilli as a hard-working but "jovial" man who had taken a caravan on holiday with them to the French Alps last week.
Asked if Hilli had any enemies, Stedman said: "None that I know of."
He added that the elderly woman found dead in the car, who had a Swedish passport, was Hilli's mother-in-law.
A friend of the family who gave his name as James said Saad al-Hilli had been raised in London. The family had left Iraq in the 1970s after Iraq's Baath Party seized the family business, he added.
"Saad was the perfect father and a wonderful engineer," James said. "He was a keen cyclist. He was a good friend, a close friend."
Another friend, who delivered a bunch of white flowers to the house that were taken by a uniformed policeman, described Hilli as "a nice guy".
Local mothers said they had often seen the family taking their daughters to school.
"We used to see the couple on the school run," one local woman told AFP. "They were lovely, they were very friendly people with really sweet little girls."
Postman Gary Standford said Hilli had "seemed a pleasant man".
"He'd been living here for about three years," Standford said.
A Surrey police spokeswoman said the force was assisting French authorities in the investigation.